Last Days in NYC

The last week of my trip to the states, I spent in NYC together with my parents and one of my sisters. We explored Times Square, which we discovered was a terrible place to be on a Saturday. It was so crowded, the odds of getting hit by a person or a taxi were the same as a train being late in Stockholm. Or at least so it felt. Thankfully we made it out safe and sound.
We took a stroll through Central Park one sunny day and I got to do the coolest thing ever. I got to pet Balto, or at least the statue of him. The wolfhound who was my cartoon-hero in my favorite movie as a child.
One night we went to a jazz club where a live band played swing music and everyone was dancing, all of them extremely well. My sister and her friend joined in and totally ruled the dance floor. At the end I was invited up to dance. A little bit slower thankfully and with two of the coolest guys I’ve met. One of them was around 80 years old! His sense of rhythm was flawless and his love for dancing made him glow with happiness. It was an honor to dance with him.
Another night, we went to see a Broadway musical. “Matilda” based on the classic novel by Roald Dahl. It was sassy, hilarious and wonderful! The role of the ghastly principal Mrs. Trenchborn was played by a muscular athlete with the voice of a god. He was so perfect for the role and made me laugh out loud countless times. The children were all so impressive in their roles and the ensemble performances imaginative and carried out with precision. Magical.
When we woke up the day after the musical, the weather was warmer than it had been in days. A slight drizzle in the air though. We got on the subway to visit my mum’s friend who has an apartment in central Manhattan close to the water. The view was exquisite, one could see both Manhattan and New Jersey. We shared a lovely brunch together before heading to the ferry terminal. A sightseeing ferry with roof (good because it was raining) picked us up to take us around the island. It was great seeing all the buildings and smaller islands around the majestic Manhattan. The statue of Liberty was amazing of course. The down part with this little voyage was the guide. An ex history teacher in the upper years who was convinced his jokes were top comedian standard. Cringe worthy.
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That night we ended up in Greenwich and found a tiny café full with people. It was called the Path Café and they had Open Mic night. Many amazing singer songwriters went up on stage and I could not believe that those people were not signed or famous. They were able to squeeze me in as one of the last performers and I played two originals: “Nightingale” and “Garden of Unicorns”. It was a really cool last gig in NYC. I truly have to go back to do more.
The last day we wandered the highline, an old train track offering a marvelous view of the Meet Pack District which itself is a wonderful little part of town. Old slaughter houses of reddish brick which had been restored and turned into fabulous little shops offering high fashion clothes and jewelry. We also found Chelsea Market in the area, a perfect food market with imaginative organic foods and vegetables. It featured, among plenty others, a little hat shop, a vegetarian sushi restaurant and a mini donut shop.
New York is such a cool place and I will need more time to explore every little corner of it. It’s vibrating with the air of all the cool people and the creativeness it harbors. And pulsing with the ambition of all those who seek success. Scary, but oh so beautiful.

The Big Apple

This place. I have heard so much of it. Cannot believe I am actually here. New York City. I was met by spring. Cold winds and singing birds. Such a big difference from California. It felt like I’d come to Stockholm in the spring, before I went out of the airport and saw all the yellow cabs. I thought about “Sex and the City” when I stepped into my first NYC taxi and saw the little glass window separating me from the driver. So unique.
 It was a much longed for reunion with my parents, after being away from them for more than two months. We’re enjoying NYC together, exploring different parts of the city and spending time together.
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There’s so much to do and so little time so I will have to update the blog soon again with more pics and info. For now I can share that we went to a very nice open mic the first night at a place called Paddy’s in central Manhattan. I performed three original songs and also enjoyed the music from a variety of talented singer-songwriters.
Now I’m going to squeeze out every last drop of the time I have left here in the States.

So Long Cali

Goodbye California
Those tears again
I leave a piece of my heart with you
I fell deeply in love, 
with all that you are
I am uprooted
My home is not in one place anymore
So much has changed since I arrived
Never thought one place could have that much impact
I leave a piece of my heart with you
Cherish it while I am gone
So long

Ghirardelli and the Chocolate Monster

Wednesday, I went to hang out in the Golden Gate park. I did not choose to join the happy group of people at the beginning of the park that seemed to use the grass as a sleeping place, although the atmosphere was cheerful. Instead, I continued further through the park and found what I think is the Conservatory of Flowers, harboring an exquisite garden of flowers in all colors imaginable. I sat down on the grass and read for hours, to the tunes of a band improvising famous and unknown melodies. When my skin was bursting with sun, I located the Japanese Tea Garden and went to explore the serenity. Another unexpected treasure was found nearby, the little Shakespeare Garden, with the classic romantic feel to it. I took a moment to read the Shakespeare lines about flowers that were written on the wall.
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Then arrived my last day in San Fran. How better to spend it than head down to one of my favorite places in San Fran together with a friend. Fisherman’s Warf, with the perfect view of the Golden Gate bridge. I also got to see the famous, crooked Lombard Street. Of course I could not leave without visiting Ghirardelli Square, or as I would like to call it Chocolate Heaven. A delicious homemade sundae with the best fudge imaginable was shared on the spot and the chocolate was smelled and tasted. We even got to see some chocolate in the making 🙂 The chocolate monster in me was thrilled!
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The evening was spent with new friends from the hostel and a delicious thai meal. Garlic noodles and honey glazed pork. Just perfect. It was time for bed too soon in order to be ready for my 3:30 am shuttle to the airport. Thankful that I had such a good day already.

Good Nights and Sad Goodbyes

At the beginning of the week I got some great hostel roommates, two fun loving Australian-Polish guys. Together we set off to an Open Mic at a café close to Haight street called the Mojo Café. The place was small and cozy and people were very friendly. I played four songs, three originals and one cover. I got a very dedicated fan. It was an old man called Howard who walked around with a one-stringed guitar. His enthusiasm was contagious.
The day after, we went for a walk down to the Fisherman’s Warf and explored the area for a bit, while absorbing the sun.
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I later met my friend Johan again. It was a much missed reunion. We hung out with some of his family and had dinner. We were even able to take out the guitar and play a few songs. I’ve truly missed that! We also went for a walk by Haight and Ashbury and saw the place where the peace and love movement was born. It felt historical. The Ben & Jerry’s shop was perfectly situated and surrounded by artsy boutiques and wall paintings. We even saw one of the houses where Jimi Hendrix used to live.
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When the night came to an end my eyes were filled with tears. I said goodbye to Johan and the guitar, the guitar which has been my constant companion for two months. It felt like a chapter was closed as I won’t see Johan and his friends that have become my friends for a long time now. I will miss them so much. My nostalgic mind already grieves.

St Patrick’s Weekend

This weekend has been highlighted with green and people in weird hats. On Saturday I went to see the St Patrick’s day parade on Market Street in the middle of San Fran. Joyful and fun. Then I joined three athletic Australians to bike from the Fisherman’s Warf over the Golden Gate Bridge to Saulisitas. That truly was a challenge for someone who’s not very used to biking. It was worth it though. What a feeling to bike over that bridge! The view was exquisite.
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On Sunday I had the privilege to hang out with two awesome Swedish girls and we went to Dolores Park situated in the mission district. The park was so nice. A diverse crowd were spread out on the green grass and we had a really chill time in the sun. Playing guitar, singing and just hanging out. The area surrounding the park was a colorful place, with a lot of cool shops and restaurants. We spent some time walking around and enjoying the scenery and had some tasty lunch. Strawberry and spinach salad, yumyum. This day was the first time I took the “subway” in San Fran, also called the Muni. It was a cute and only had one cart. Me and the girls had fun just saying the name Muni, cause it sounds so cute 🙂
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After 14 hours of sitting on a Greyhound bus, I finally arrived in San Francisco at 7 am yesterday morning. Tired as I was, I needed a few hours of sleep before beginning my exploration. I went on the internet and found an open mic night taking place at a place called Cafe International not too far from me. Just 30 min away by bus – yay, finally some public transport! I played two of my original songs written in California, Nightingale and One Way Up. It was a lot of fun and I met some cool people at the cafe. After a meal the night ended with sitting on a balcony, sharing some wine with a friend and watching San Fran at night. Magical.
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Later, Vegas!

Preparing to leave the crazy town of Vegas now. It was everything you could expect. Bright lights covering the houses, casinos in every corner and something to see wherever you turn. It sure was an experience. There were tiny wedding chapels everywhere and everything was open 24 hours. Night and day became one. Yesterday, I went together with some people from the hostel on a gambling tour. We played slot machines, got free drinks and had a blast. Don’t worry, I didn’t lose any money. Next stop: San Francisco. How I’ve longed 🙂

Grand Canyon

Let me just say this: Grand Canyon is a must see. It was so amazing and I had a hard time grasping the enormity of it all. It is hard to explain. You have to be there and see it with your own eyes.
So the story. My friend Abel and I continued our road trip from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon. Along route 66 in our beautiful mustang. I can now say I’ve been in three states in the US. California, Nevada and Arizona. A lot of desert, but different and cool roads to travel.
When we arrived to Grand Canyon it was pretty late so we had to layer pretty soon to keep us from freezing. The temperature dropped extremely fast. We walked along the edges of the plateau and climbed out on rocks as far as possible. We then watched the sunset over the canyon. Just magical.
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Las Vegas?!

The last days in San Diego went by quickly with visits to the beach and hanging out with awesome people. We found a magical little place by the harbor, with beach shops and old American style trinkets stores. The place was also home to a bookstore/café with furniture that seemed taken out of Alice in Wonderland. Imagine if I liked it. Earlier this week I also got to see my dad’s cousin and his wife who live in San Diego. It was such a delight to finally meet some of my distant relatives in California! We went to Coronado, a peninsula in San Diego, and had some delicious food at a restaurant just by the water. I had a great time! 🙂
So a sudden change of events have occurred. I met a guy from Switzerland (the country that people mix up with Sweden) at the hostel in San Diego and he was going to Las Vegas next. So I decided to tag along before I continue more up north. In a dark blue convertible ford mustang we set off for the road trip this morning, but not before visiting the USS Midway. It’s an old army ship from the second world war, which they’ve turned into a museum. Really cool place! I even found an Jurassic Park like kitchen.
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I am now in Las Vegas and the city is just as vibrant as portrayed in the movies. I cannot imagine how much electricity it takes to power this city… Tomorrow we’ll be going to visit the Grand Canyon. So I should probably get some sleep in the Hostel Cat, the hostel we’re staying the night at. No, you don’t actually sleep in the trailer.
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